Cover Shoot: Regal couture in Ely Cathedral
Set against the grandeur of Ely Cathedral - where the Coronation scenes were filmed for Netflix hit The Crown - our Jubilee cover shoot sees contributing fashion editor Rohiny Belani model gowns fit for a Queen from Cambridge-based haute couture label Bowen Dryden
Among the gowns designer Sharon Bowen-Dryden supplied for this shoot was a one-of-a-kind red, white and blue two-piece, made bespoke for Velvet’s commemorative cover and now on display in Ely Cathedral. Here, Sharon explains how the look came together
“Bowen Dryden was greatly honoured to be invited to create a hand-embroidered couture gown to feature on the cover of Velvet magazine, in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“The gown is fashioned in beautiful silk taffeta from India, in the traditional colours of the Union Jack - bravery, strength and valour in the ruby red, peace and honesty in the white, and vigilance, justice and loyalty in the cobalt blue - and embellished with fine-spun silk, gold thread and jewels representing the precious stones from across the realm of the Commonwealth.
“The embroidery inspiration is taken from all aspects of this memorable occasion: the roses from the specially commissioned ‘Queen Elizabeth II’ rose; the beaded crown from the George IV State Diadem worn at the Coronation, encrusted in diamonds, rubies and sapphires; the gold and jewelled royal motifs depicting many of Her Majesty's brooches and pins; and the ER monogram, Elizabeth Regina, in glittering gold thread.
“Her Royal Highness is a much loved, respected and inspirational lady, who through her steadfast, constant and dutiful demeanour, has solidly ruled the United Kingdom for 70 years. So we are thrilled to celebrate this occasion by designing this commemorative gown.”
Sharon is known for both her cutting-edge, alternative bridal collections - showcased at The White Gallery and London Fashion Week in London - and creating exclusive unique gowns for individual high profile clients. For more see bowendryden.co.uk
Ely Cathedral, location for this commemorative cover shoot, is celebrating Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee with a whole programme of special events. Here’s what to look forward to
Crowns & Gowns: The official replica of the Queen’s Coronation dress, commissioned by Harrods in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, is going back on display at the Cathedral, having previously headlined its hit Crowns & Gowns exhibition in 2020. Famously worn by Claire Foy at Ely Cathedral for the sumptuous Netflix drama, The Crown, the dress will be joined by the stunning Bowen Dryden gown, made bespoke for Velvet’s Jubilee cover shoot at the cathedral.
Floral Tributes: The Cathedral’s Flower Guild is staging a mini festival of floral tributes, each taking the form of key events, interests and pursuits in the Queen’s life. These will include:
the 1947 Royal Wedding; the Queen’s devotion to the Commonwealth; her love of horses, racing and the countryside; the Royal Yacht Britannia; and her service as Queen to the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Tours & Teas: Visitor opening times are being extended, with additional activities including a guided cathedral tour followed by a celebratory Jubilee Afternoon Tea at the Almonry. All tours are available to book online at elycathedral.org.
Light Show & Service: Ely’s famous Octagon Tower will be lit red, white and blue for the duration of the Bank Holiday weekend as part of the commemorations. A special Service of Thanksgiving for Her Majesty the Queen will take place in the cathedral at 10.30am on Sunday, June 5 with music performed by the choir.
Meet the Team
Hair: @hair_by_duboux; hairbyduboux.com
Makeup: @laura.cartwrightmakeup; lauracartwrightmakeupartit.co.uk
Photographer: @simonbalancer; simoncarterphotography.com
Outfits: @bowendryden; bowendryden.co.uk
Location: @ely_cathedral; elycathedral.org
Jewellery: @jolitajewellery; jolitajewellery.com
Millinery: @chanixmillinery; chanixmillinery.co.uk
Veil: @rebeccaannedesigns; rebeccaannedesigns.co.uk
Production manager: @flashkatemua
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